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Horticulturae, Volume 9, Issue 4 (April 2023) – 108 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): 'Aliza' is a new pomelo × mandarin hybrid developed by the Israeli citrus breeding program. 'Aliza' fruits are about the size of grapefruits, but have a thinner peel, a unique yellowish/golden color, are completely seedless and have an especially high juice content. Sensory analyses involving consumer acceptance and preference tests, descriptive tests and electronic tongue revealed that the flavor of 'Aliza' fruits is different and highly preferred as compared to other citrus species. Overall, 'Aliza' fruits are distinguished by their unique quality and flavor and can be considered a new commercial type of citrus fruit. View this paper
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16 pages, 2805 KiB  
Article
Differences in the Quality, Yield, and Soil Microecology of Ginseng in Different Planting Environments
by Yiming Lan, Meng Zhang, Mei Han and Limin Yang
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040520 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1295
Abstract
The quality and yield of ginseng are significantly affected by ecological factors, especially soil, which is a complex environment. This study compared the quality, yield, and soil differences of ginseng in a Mongolian oak forest (MOFG), birch forest (BFG), mixed wood forest (MWFG), [...] Read more.
The quality and yield of ginseng are significantly affected by ecological factors, especially soil, which is a complex environment. This study compared the quality, yield, and soil differences of ginseng in a Mongolian oak forest (MOFG), birch forest (BFG), mixed wood forest (MWFG), poplar forest (PFG), farmland (FlG), and a felling forest (DfG). Based on these differences, the relationship between the three was explored, as was the most suitable forest type for developing understory ginseng cultivation. The soil bacteria diversity of DfG was similar to that of understory ginseng, and its ginsenoside content was at the same level as that of understory ginseng. The soil pH of FlG was significantly lower than that of the other five cultivation methods, and the soil bacteria were also different from them, especially those related to the nitrogen cycle. Ginsenoside Rg2 has a significant correlation with many soil factors and is sensitive to soil environmental differences. In conclusion, there were significant differences in the quality, yield, and soil environments between the different planting methods. MOFG was the most suitable for planting with excellent quality and high yield, while BFG was the worst; as such, planting in BFG should be avoided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinals, Herbs, and Specialty Crops)
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15 pages, 327 KiB  
Article
Apricot (Prunus armeniaca) Performance under Foliar Application of Humic Acid, Brassinosteroids, and Seaweed Extract
by Adel M. Al-Saif, Lidia Sas-Paszt, Rehab M. Awad and Walid F. A. Mosa
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040519 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2095
Abstract
The excessive use of chemical fertilizers in fruit orchards has led to numerous problems for the environment, produce quality, and food safety. It also negatively affects soil health, beneficial microorganisms, and ground water quality, hence the resurgence of the application of biostimulants as [...] Read more.
The excessive use of chemical fertilizers in fruit orchards has led to numerous problems for the environment, produce quality, and food safety. It also negatively affects soil health, beneficial microorganisms, and ground water quality, hence the resurgence of the application of biostimulants as ecofriendly ways to improve the growth, yield, and fruit quality of tree fruits. The current study was performed during 2021 and 2022 to investigate the influence of foliar spraying of 500, 1000, and 2000 mg/L humic acid (HA); 0.5, 1, and 2 mg/L brassinosteroids (Brs); and 1000, 2000, and 3000 mg/L seaweed extract (SWE) compared with a control (untreated trees) in terms of the performance of an apricot (Prunus armeniaca) cv. Canino. The obtained results show that the spraying of HA, Brs, and SWE positively increased the shoot length, leaf area, leaf chlorophyll content, fruit set, fruit yields, and fruit physical and chemical characteristics, as well as leaf macro- or micronutrients contents compared with those untreated trees during both study years. Moreover, the increase in parameter values was parallel to the increase in the used concentrations of HA, Brs, or SWE, where 2000 mg/L HA, 2 mg/L Brs, and 3000 mg/L SWE were superior to 1000 mg/L HA, 1 mg/L Brs, and 2000 mg/L SWE, which were better than 500 mg/L HA, 0.5 mg/L Brs, and 1000 mg/L SWE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Effect of Biostimulants on Horticultural Crops)
16 pages, 3537 KiB  
Article
Precise Sensing of Leaf Temperatures for Smart Farm Applications
by Ki-Ho Son, Han-Sol Sim, Jae-Kyoung Lee and Juhwan Lee
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040518 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1903
Abstract
Leaf temperature represents the mixed effects of solar radiation, temperature, and CO2 enrichment on the potential production of greenhouse vegetables. However, smart farm applications that monitor and account for changes in leaf temperature are limited. This study developed new hardware and software [...] Read more.
Leaf temperature represents the mixed effects of solar radiation, temperature, and CO2 enrichment on the potential production of greenhouse vegetables. However, smart farm applications that monitor and account for changes in leaf temperature are limited. This study developed new hardware and software components for leaf temperature sensing integrated into a conventional smart farm system. We demonstrated a new system to monitor leaf temperatures and improve crop yield at two greenhouse tomato and strawberry farms in South Korea. We observed a rapid decline in leaf temperature at both farms when the indoor air temperature decreased. This pattern often corresponds to stagnant CO2 assimilation. The results suggest that leaf temperature sensing is practical for slow aeration and heating that is required to optimize photosynthetic efficiency, especially in the morning and when leaf temperatures become high (over 25 °C). Specifically, smart farm implementation with leaf temperature sensing increased the yield of tomatoes by 28–43%. Furthermore, our study highlights the need to develop leaf temperature models for smart greenhouse farming that interact with nutrient and water supplies. Full article
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12 pages, 2774 KiB  
Article
Chinese Cabbage BrCAP Has Potential Resistance against Plasmodiophora brassicae
by Jiawei Zou, Shiqi Gao, Bo Zhang, Wenjie Ge, Jing Zhang and Ruiqin Ji
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040517 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1337
Abstract
Clubroot disease caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin (P. brassicae) has seriously influenced the production of Brassica rapa crops, but the interaction mechanism between P. brassicae and Brassica rapa is not clear. In our previous study, a differentially expressed protein, G15, was [...] Read more.
Clubroot disease caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin (P. brassicae) has seriously influenced the production of Brassica rapa crops, but the interaction mechanism between P. brassicae and Brassica rapa is not clear. In our previous study, a differentially expressed protein, G15, was found between the roots of Chinese cabbage inoculated and un-inoculated with P. brassicae through two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) and mass spectrometry, and G15 was matched with Bra011464. In this study, Bra011464 was found to have a 94% percent identity with Arabidopsis thaliana CAP, named BrCAP. The expression of BrCAP was the highest in the root compared with the stems and leaves of Chinese cabbage, and its expression in the roots of Chinese cabbage inoculated with P. brassicae was significantly higher than that in the control. The results were verified by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and in situ hybridization. Subcellular localization showed that BrCAP was localized on chloroplasts of leaf epidermal cells. To verify the function of BrCAP, it was found that the Arabidopsis thaliana mutant cap was more susceptible to infection with P. brassicae than the wild type (WT), which suggested that BrCAP has a potential role in the resistance progress of Chinese cabbage to P. brassicae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Responses of Vegetable Crops)
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16 pages, 2998 KiB  
Article
Transcriptomic Analysis of Anthocyanin and Carotenoid Biosynthesis in Red and Yellow Fruits of Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium L.) during Ripening
by Qinghao Wang, Luyang Jing, Yue Xu, Weiwei Zheng and Wangshu Zhang
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040516 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1568
Abstract
The diversity of fruit color in sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) has been attributed to the presence of either anthocyanin or carotenoid. We profiled the anthocyanin and carotenoid metabolites to investigate the different pigments and the underlying regulatory mechanisms of differential expression [...] Read more.
The diversity of fruit color in sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) has been attributed to the presence of either anthocyanin or carotenoid. We profiled the anthocyanin and carotenoid metabolites to investigate the different pigments and the underlying regulatory mechanisms of differential expression genes (DEGs) between red and yellow fruits of sweet cherry. We profiled two cultivars, ‘Jiangnanhong’(JNH, red fruits) and ‘Chaoyang’(CY, yellow fruits) to establish their anthocyanin and carotenoid metabolites by LC-MS/MS and transcriptome analysis by RNA-seq to test the difference in gene expression and metabolic substances between the two varieties. Cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside was the most different pigment between two cultivars, the content of which in red fruit was significantly higher than in the yellow one during the whole ripening stage (stage 3 and stage 4). The total carotenoid content in the two color types of fruits was close, but the content in yellow fruit was shown to be more stable after harvest. Based on the transcriptome data, the heatmap of selected structural DEGs showed that all of the anthocyanin genes expressed significantly higher levels in red fruits than that in yellow fruits. Two unigenes encoding chalcone synthase (CHS) and UDP glucose-flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase (UFGT) were expressed 1134.58 and 1151.24 times higher in red than in yellow fruits at stage 4, respectively. Correlation analysis showed that anthocyanin genes in JNH were negatively correlated with those in CY; by contrast, there were some strong correlations observed between the two cultivars in carotenoid genes. Thus, the coloration of sweet cherry was mainly attributed to anthocyanin-related genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Molecular Breeding in Fruit Tree Orchards)
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16 pages, 2554 KiB  
Article
Identification of miRNAs Involved in Male Fertility and Pollen Development in Brassica oleracea var. capitata L. by High-Throughput Sequencing
by Shoukat Sajad, Qian Dai, Jing Yang and Jianghua Song
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040515 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1398
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenously expressed, non-coding RNAs that play essential roles in numerous developmental and physiological processes in plants. However, there is a lack of data available on regulating fertility in cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.). This study examined the expression [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenously expressed, non-coding RNAs that play essential roles in numerous developmental and physiological processes in plants. However, there is a lack of data available on regulating fertility in cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.). This study examined the expression of miRNAs during cabbage pollen development using high-throughput sequencing. Two small RNA libraries were constructed from flower buds from the cytoplasmic male-sterile (CMS) line and its maintainer fertile (MF) linee of cabbage, resulting in over 10 million sequence reads. A total of 211 new miRNAs and 7 conserved miRNAs were discovered. Eight randomly chosen miRNAs were found to have differential expression between CMS and MF, as determined by stem-loop quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). The expression patterns were similar to those detected with Illumina sequencing. Moreover, the possible targets of these putative miRNAs were inferred using a BlastX search and Gene Ontology (GO) analysis. The majority of targets have been indicated to be essential for the development of pollen or other plant parts. The discovery and characterization of miRNAs involved in pollen development in CMS and MF cabbage lines might drive research on the regulatory mechanisms of male sterility, leading to a better understanding of the crucial roles performed by miRNAs in this process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics, Genomics, Breeding, and Biotechnology (G2B2))
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15 pages, 2343 KiB  
Article
Different Cutting Methods Affect the Quality of Fresh-Cut Cucumbers by Regulating ROS Metabolism
by Yuge Guan, Wenzhong Hu, Lei Wang and Bailu Yang
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040514 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1666
Abstract
Fresh-cut cucumbers (Cucumis sativus L.) are appreciated by consumers for their convenience and freshness. In the process of home cooking and in the food industry, different cutting methods for cucumbers are needed. In order to explore the effect of cutting methods on [...] Read more.
Fresh-cut cucumbers (Cucumis sativus L.) are appreciated by consumers for their convenience and freshness. In the process of home cooking and in the food industry, different cutting methods for cucumbers are needed. In order to explore the effect of cutting methods on the quality of fresh-cut cucumbers, cucumbers were cut into slices, pieces, and strips and whole cucumbers were used as the control. The results indicate that the vitamin C content of the sliced, pieced, and stripped cucumbers was gradually reduced, while the glutathione content increased significantly (p < 0.05) compared with the whole cucumbers. Furthermore, this study reveals that the fresh-cutting operation induced the production of ROS (O2· and H2O2). Simultaneously, cutting activates phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and peroxidase activity, which enhanced the total phenol content by 1.35 times, 1.51 times, and 1.78 times in the pieced, stripped, and sliced cucumbers, respectively. This combines with the enhancement in the ascorbate peroxidase, glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase activity, contributing to the antioxidant capacity increasing by 1.14–1.95 times compared with the control. In conclusion, the degree of quality indexes was sliced > pieced > stripped. Therefore, this study provides useful information to illuminate the mechanism of the quality change in fresh-cut cucumbers subjected to different cutting methods and makes suggestions on the appropriate cutting style for the commercial or home use of cucumbers. Full article
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16 pages, 4588 KiB  
Article
Influence of the 135 bp Intron on Stilbene Synthase VaSTS11 Transgene Expression in Cell Cultures of Grapevine and Different Plant Generations of Arabidopsis thaliana
by Konstantin V. Kiselev, Zlata V. Ogneva, Olga A. Aleynova, Andrey R. Suprun, Alexey A. Ananev, Nikolay N. Nityagovsky and Alexandra S. Dubrovina
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040513 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1049
Abstract
Modern plant biotechnology often faces the problem of obtaining a stable and powerful vector for gene overexpression. It is known that introns carry different regulatory elements whose effects on transgene expression have been poorly studied. To study the effect of an intron on [...] Read more.
Modern plant biotechnology often faces the problem of obtaining a stable and powerful vector for gene overexpression. It is known that introns carry different regulatory elements whose effects on transgene expression have been poorly studied. To study the effect of an intron on transgene expression, the stilbene synthase 11 (VaSTS11) gene of grapevine Vitis amurensis Rupr. was selected and overexpressed in grapevine callus cell cultures and several plant generations of Arabidopsis thaliana as two forms, intronless VaSTS11c and intron-containing VaSTS11d. The STS genes play an important role in the biosynthesis of stilbenes, valuable plant secondary metabolites. VaSTS11d contained two exons and one intron, while VaSTS11c contained only two exons, which corresponded to the mature transcript. It has been shown that the intron-containing VaSTS11d was better expressed in several generations of transgenic A. thaliana than VaSTS11c and also exhibited a lower level of cytosine methylation. As a result, the content of stilbenes in the VaSTS11d-transgenic plants was much higher than in the VaSTS11c-transgenic plants. Similarly, the best efficiency in increasing the content of stilbenes was also observed in grapevine cell cultures overexpressing the intron-containing VaSTS11d transcript. Thus, the results indicate that an intron sequence with regulatory elements can have a strong positive effect on both transgene expression level and its biological functions in plants and plant cell cultures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Tissue and Organ Cultures for Crop Improvement in Omics Era)
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18 pages, 2949 KiB  
Article
Effect of Wounding Intensity on Edible Quality by Regulating Physiological and ROS Metabolism in Fresh-Cut Pumpkins
by Wenzhong Hu, Yuge Guan, Yi Wang and Ning Yuan
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040512 - 20 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1210
Abstract
Fresh-cut pumpkin is favored by consumers for its environmental protection, safety, and convenience at home and abroad. To investigate the effect of different wounding intensities (piece, strip and slice, corresponding to 1.90, 3.53 and 6.29 m2 kg−1) on the quality [...] Read more.
Fresh-cut pumpkin is favored by consumers for its environmental protection, safety, and convenience at home and abroad. To investigate the effect of different wounding intensities (piece, strip and slice, corresponding to 1.90, 3.53 and 6.29 m2 kg−1) on the quality of fresh-cut pumpkin, the critical indexes involved in reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism, vitamin C-glutathione cycle, phenylpropanoid metabolism and membrane lipid peroxidation were monitored for pumpkin during storage at 4 °C for 6 d. The results showed that with the increase in cutting injury strength, the lightness, whiteness index, respiration rate, ethylene content, lipoxygenase activity and malondialdehyde content of fresh-cut pumpkin increased, while the hardness, sensory quality, appearance and total soluble solid content continuously decreased. The quality deterioration was the most severe in the slice group, while a higher sensory quality was maintained in the piece after 6 d of storage. However, the activity of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase increased and then contributed to the synthesis of the phenolic compound, which resulted in enhancements of 79.13%, 29.47% and 16.14% in piece, strip and slice, respectively. Meanwhile, cutting enhanced the activity of antioxidant enzymes including ascorbate peroxidase, glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase and catalase, resulting in the enhancement of antioxidant activity in fresh-cut pumpkin. The collected results showed that the wounding intensities have an obvious influence on the quality by regulating physiological and ROS metabolism. Full article
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14 pages, 2054 KiB  
Article
Screening and Identification of Potato StSPS1, a Potential Crucial Gene Regulating Seed Potato Vigor
by Chengcheng Cai, Shifeng Liu, Jie Liu, He Wen, Luopin Li, Qiang Wang, Liqin Li and Xiyao Wang
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040511 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1318
Abstract
Sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS), a crucial rate-limiting enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of precursors of sucrose, plays an indispensable role in the regulation of seed potato vigor. Nonetheless, the genes that encode SPS in potato have not undergone complete analysis, and the primary [...] Read more.
Sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS), a crucial rate-limiting enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of precursors of sucrose, plays an indispensable role in the regulation of seed potato vigor. Nonetheless, the genes that encode SPS in potato have not undergone complete analysis, and the primary genes responsible for the regulation of seed potato vigor have not been screened and identified. In this study, four StSPS family members were identified by comparing the potato genome database with homologous proteins. Using bioinformatics, the physicochemical properties, subcellular localization, sequence structure, conserved motifs, and phylogenetics of StSPS were analyzed. The expression levels of StSPS in different potato tissues, from dormancy to sprouting in the seed potato tubers, were measured via qRT-PCR. The expression data from the potato genome database and previous transcriptome and proteome studies of dormancy to sprouting were also compared. After combining the analysis of SPS enzyme activity in diverse tuber tissues and the correlation analysis between multiple varieties with different dormancy periods and the expression of StSPS1, the primary gene StSPS1 that might regulate seed potato vigor was identified. This study set a theoretical and experimental groundwork for further verification and clarification of the regulatory function of StSPS1 in alterations in seed potato vigor. Full article
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17 pages, 4659 KiB  
Article
Lemon Peel and Juice: Metabolomic Differentiation
by Pablo Melgarejo, Dámaris Núñez-Gómez, Francisca Hernández, Rafael Martínez-Font, Vicente Lidón Noguera, Juan José Martínez-Nicolás and Pilar Legua
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040510 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1369
Abstract
Lemon is one of the most significant crops globally, with annual production exceeding 20.8 million tons in 2021. Spain leads the production in Europe with over 62% of lemon production (1.17 million tons in 2021). This study evaluated the real impact of cultivation [...] Read more.
Lemon is one of the most significant crops globally, with annual production exceeding 20.8 million tons in 2021. Spain leads the production in Europe with over 62% of lemon production (1.17 million tons in 2021). This study evaluated the real impact of cultivation conditions (rootstock and culture medium) on the compositional characteristics of ‘Verna’ lemons (peel and juice) using 1H-MNR metabolomic identification techniques and multivariate analyses. Twenty metabolites were identified in both the peel and juice samples. Arginine, phenylalanine, ethanol, and trigonelline were absent in the peel samples but present in all the juice. On the other hand, the metabolites asparagine, glutamate, formate, and malate were present in the peel samples but absent in the juice. The analysis of the results indicates that the rootstock had a significant impact on the metabolites related to the energy metabolism of the plant, which directly affects the development of fruits and the influence of the culture conditions (rootstock and culture medium) on the plant’s adaptive response and modification of metabolic pathways. Full article
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18 pages, 3340 KiB  
Article
Effect of Seaweed-Based Biostimulants on Growth and Development of Hydrangea paniculata under Continuous or Periodic Drought Stress
by Paulien De Clercq, Els Pauwels, Seppe Top, Kathy Steppe and Marie-Christine Van Labeke
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040509 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1942
Abstract
To adapt to climate change and water scarcity during dry, hot summers, more sustainable, or even deficit, irrigation is required in the ornamental sector, as it uses large amounts of water to sustain high-value crop production. Biostimulants, especially seaweed extracts, could offer a [...] Read more.
To adapt to climate change and water scarcity during dry, hot summers, more sustainable, or even deficit, irrigation is required in the ornamental sector, as it uses large amounts of water to sustain high-value crop production. Biostimulants, especially seaweed extracts, could offer a sustainable solution against drought stress as they are known to increase plant tolerance to abiotic stress. The effect of four seaweed extracts based on Ascophyllum nodosum, Soliera chordalis, Ecklonia maxima, and Saccharina latissima and one microbial biostimulant were tested on container-grown Hydrangea paniculata under drought stress conditions for two years. During the first trial year, in 2019, overall irrigation was reduced by 20%. In 2021, plants were subjected to repeated drying and wetting cycles. In general, less irrigation, and thus a lower substrate moisture content, reduced stomatal conductance, biomass production, and root development, but increased plant compactness. The biostimulants showed minor effects, but these were not observed in both experiments. Treatment with the A. nodosum extract resulted in longer branches and more biomass under deficit irrigation but tended to accelerate flowering when repeated drying and wetting cycles were applied. The E. maxima extract negatively affected the branching of Hydrangea under repeated drying and wetting cycles. Full article
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19 pages, 2146 KiB  
Article
Physiological and Nutritional Responses of Ungrafted Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon Vines or Grafted to 101-14 Mgt and 1103P Rootstocks Exposed to an Excess of Boron
by Kleopatra-Eleni Nikolaou, Theocharis Chatzistathis, Serafeim Theocharis, Anagnostis Argiriou and Stefanos Koundouras
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040508 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1039
Abstract
The aim of this study is to analyze the effect of excess boron (B) on the nutrient uptake, growth, and physiological performance of grapevines. Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapevines, either own-rooted or grafted onto 1103P and 101-14 Mgt rootstocks, were exposed in a [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to analyze the effect of excess boron (B) on the nutrient uptake, growth, and physiological performance of grapevines. Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapevines, either own-rooted or grafted onto 1103P and 101-14 Mgt rootstocks, were exposed in a hydroponic pot experiment to 0.5 mM boron for sixty days. Twenty-five days following the beginning of B treatment, the first symptoms of boron toxicity appeared, including leaf edge and margin yellowing, subsequent necrosis, and cupping of leaf blades. At harvest, sixty days after the start of the experiment, B concentration of the treated vines increased in all parts of the vine in the following order: Leaves > Roots > Trunks > Shoots. Leaf Boron concentration in treated vines ranged from 980.67 to 1064.37 mg kg−1 d.w. Boron excess significantly reduced the concentrations of all macro and micronutrients studied in this experiment. The total leaf chlorophyll (Chl) concentration decreased from 35.46 to 44.45%, thirty and sixty days, respectively, from the beginning of the boron treatments. In addition, an excess amount of boron resulted in a dramatic decrease in net CO2 assimilation rate, stem water potential, and PSII maximum quantum yield, irrespective of vine type (own-rooted or grafted). At the end of the experimental period, the total leaf phenolic content increased by 71.73% in Merlot and by 71.16% in Cabernet Franc due to Boron stress. The tressed vines grafted onto 1103P showed increased shoot and root dry weights, leaf chlorophyll content, CO2 assimilation rates, and Fv/Fm ratio compared to vines grafted onto 101-14 Mgt. It was found that rootstocks play an important role in B toxicity. The results showed that the leaf accumulation of boron was delayed to a greater extent by 1103P rootstock compared to 101-14 Mgt, resulting in the earlier appearance of leaf toxicity symptoms in vines grafted onto 101-14 Mgt rootstock compared to 1103P. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Responses of Vegetable Crops)
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13 pages, 1668 KiB  
Article
AquaCrop Model Performance in Yield, Biomass, and Water Requirement Simulations of Common Bean Grown under Different Irrigation Treatments and Sowing Periods
by Ružica Stričević, Aleksa Lipovac, Nevenka Djurović, Dunja Sotonica and Marija Ćosić
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040507 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1552
Abstract
The application of crop growth simulation and water management models will become increasingly important in the future. They can be used to predict yield reductions due to water scarcity and allocate water to ensure profitable crop production. The objective of this research was [...] Read more.
The application of crop growth simulation and water management models will become increasingly important in the future. They can be used to predict yield reductions due to water scarcity and allocate water to ensure profitable crop production. The objective of this research was to calibrate the AquaCrop model for common bean (Faseolus vulgaris L.) grown in temperate climates and to test whether the model can be used for different irrigation strategies to achieve high yield productivity. The model was calibrated using data obtained from two years of experimental research in the Serbian territory of the Syrmia region. There were three sowing periods/plots: I—mid April, II—end of May/beginning of June, and III—third decade of June/beginning of July; and three levels of irrigation/subplots: full irrigation (F) providing 100% of crop evapotranspiration (ETc), mild deficit irrigation (R) at 80% of ETc, and moderate deficit irrigation (S) at 60% of ETc. The results show that the AquaCrop model accurately predicts common bean yield, biomass, canopy cover, and water requirements. The statistical indices of the calibrated dataset, coefficient of determination (R2), normalized root mean square error (NRMSE), mean bias error (MBE), and Willmott agreement index (d) for yield and biomass were: 0.91, 0.99; 6.9%, 11.4%; −0.046, 1.186 and 0.9, 0.89, respectively. When testing three irrigation strategies, the model accurately predicted irrigation requirements for the full and two deficit irrigation strategies, with only 29 mm, 32 mm, and 34 mm more water than was applied for the Fs, Rs, and Ss irrigation strategy, respectively. The AquaCrop model performed well in predicting irrigated yield and can be used to estimate the yield of common bean for different sowing periods and irrigation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Water Resources Management for Horticulture)
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17 pages, 2091 KiB  
Article
Applicability of Variable-Rate Nitrogen Top Dressing Based on Measurement of the Within-Field Variability of Soil Nutrients for Cabbage Production
by Yuka Nakano, Shintaro Noda, Yasunari Miyake, Masayuki Kogoshi, Fumio Sato and Wataru Iijima
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040506 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1604
Abstract
To improve the efficiency of nitrogen (N) fertilization, it is necessary to perform rapid direct measurements in the field rather than time-consuming laboratory-based chemical analysis. Herein, crop and soil data from the early stages of cabbage growth were acquired through two fall cultivations. [...] Read more.
To improve the efficiency of nitrogen (N) fertilization, it is necessary to perform rapid direct measurements in the field rather than time-consuming laboratory-based chemical analysis. Herein, crop and soil data from the early stages of cabbage growth were acquired through two fall cultivations. Chlorophyll meter value, height, and projected leaf area were evaluated as crop indicators. A positive correlation was observed between the projected leaf area or its rate of increase 2–3 weeks after transplantation and head fresh weight (FW). After comparing two water-content reflectometers (WCR) and a nitrate sensor, we selected a WCR with a 12 cm-long rod as the soil indicator. The diagnostic method was verified using varying amounts of N basal fertilizer during spring cultivation. The variable rate of N top dressing (25, 50, and 75% total N) based on the electrical conductivity (EC) 14 days after transplantation reduced the subsequent EC variability. No differences in head FW were observed between the treatments. A 25% reduction in N fertilizer was considered possible for half of the plots. The quantity of inorganic N extracted by potassium chloride from the crop soil after cultivation was unaffected by the amount of N fertilizer. Therefore, the diagnostic method proposed herein is suitable for soil N management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Vegetable Production Systems)
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14 pages, 3470 KiB  
Article
13 Cycles of Consecutive Tomato Monoculture Cropping Alter Soil Chemical Properties and Soil Fungal Community in Solar Greenhouse
by Hongdan Fu, Meiqi Guo, Xuan Shan, Xiaolan Zhang, Zhouping Sun, Yufeng Liu and Tianlai Li
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040505 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1148
Abstract
Consecutive tomato monoculture cropping (CTM) obstacles severely restrict the development of facility tomato industry in China. However, the effect of CTM on the soil fungal community in greenhouses is still unclear. Here, we aim to identify the variation of soil chemical properties and [...] Read more.
Consecutive tomato monoculture cropping (CTM) obstacles severely restrict the development of facility tomato industry in China. However, the effect of CTM on the soil fungal community in greenhouses is still unclear. Here, we aim to identify the variation of soil chemical properties and soil fungal community associated with CTM for 1, 3, 5, 9 and 13 cycles. The results indicated that CTM led to a significant increase in soil total phosphorus (TP) and soil electrical conductivity (EC) value. CTM, though, significantly increased soil fungal community diversity, yet also led to the imbalance of soil fungal community compositions. Specifically, a beneficial soil fungus, Chaetomiaceae, decreased significantly at CTM13, while several soil pathogenic fungi, including Fusarium and Cladosporium, increased significantly at CTM13. A redundancy analysis (RDA) indicated that soil EC value, pH and TP had a greater impact on soil fungal community structure. Structural-equation-model (SEM) analysis indicated that, when compared with CTM3–CTM9, the decline of tomato fruit fresh weight per plant (TFFW) at CTM13 might be related to the significant increase in soil EC value, soil Fusarium and Cladosporium. Thus, appropriately decreasing soil EC and soil pathogenic fungi and enhancing soil beneficial fungi under a CTM system is crucially important for sustainable tomato production in greenhouses. Full article
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17 pages, 4757 KiB  
Article
Effect of Magnetic Water Treatment on the Growth, Nutritional Status, and Yield of Lettuce Plants with Irrigation Rate
by Fernando Ferrari Putti, Eduardo Festozo Vicente, Prínscilla Pâmela Nunes Chaves, Luís Paulo Benetti Mantoan, Camila Pires Cremasco, Bruna Arruda, Juliane Cristina Forti, Josué Ferreira Silva Junior, Marcelo Campos, André Rodrigues dos Reis and Luís Roberto Almeida Gabriel Filho
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040504 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2476
Abstract
Climate change is causing an increase in dry spells, altering rainfall patterns and soil moisture, and affecting water and nutrient plant uptake, which inevitably affects vegetable production. To mitigate this issue, some technologies that allow the maintenance of the ideal soil moisture for [...] Read more.
Climate change is causing an increase in dry spells, altering rainfall patterns and soil moisture, and affecting water and nutrient plant uptake, which inevitably affects vegetable production. To mitigate this issue, some technologies that allow the maintenance of the ideal soil moisture for the uptake process are being investigated. Considering this, we hypothesize that the use of water treated with a magnetic field can increase water use efficiency in lettuce crop production. Thus, the present study aimed to evaluate the effect of the irrigation rate of magnetically treated water on biomass accumulation and nutrient uptake by lettuce plants. An experiment was conducted in a randomized block design with a 2 × 5 factorial arrangement of two water sources (conventional water and magnetically treated water) and five irrigation application rates to replace crop evaporation: 25, 50, 75, 100, and 125%, with five replicates. The use of magnetically treated water increased the concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in leaves, meaning that it induced higher nitrogen assimilation, leading to increases in agronomical characteristics (leaf number, fresh and dry shoot weight, fresh and dry root weight). The conclusions of this study showcase that magnetically treated water has beneficial effects on lettuce plants, improving their nutritional status and yield. Moreover, the results presented can lead to an increase in water use efficiency, thus optimizing irrigation management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced of Horticulture Innovative Irrigation Technologies)
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15 pages, 3525 KiB  
Article
Comparative Phytoremediation Potential of Eichhornia crassipes, Lemna minor, and Pistia stratiotes in Two Treatment Facilities in Cluj County, Romania
by Erzsebet Buta, Ionuț Lucian Borșan, Mariana Omotă, Emil Bogdan Trif, Claudiu Ioan Bunea, Andrei Mocan, Florin Dumitru Bora, Sándor Rózsa and Alexandru Nicolescu
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 503; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040503 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1954
Abstract
Phytoremediation is an effective method used to control the accumulation of certain contaminants found in industrial or city wastewater. Among the species with high efficacy are Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth), Lemna minor (common duckweed), and Pistia stratiotes (water lettuce). In this study, the [...] Read more.
Phytoremediation is an effective method used to control the accumulation of certain contaminants found in industrial or city wastewater. Among the species with high efficacy are Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth), Lemna minor (common duckweed), and Pistia stratiotes (water lettuce). In this study, the application of these species in the context of two municipal wastewater treatment facilities in Cluj County, Romania, is evaluated. To determine the efficacy of bioaccumulation, we measured the content of nitrogen species (ammoniacal nitrogen, nitrites, and nitrates), phosphorous, iron, and chromium before and after the addition of plant material to effluent and treated wastewater. The results showed that E. crassipes, L. minor, and P. stratiotes presented high phytoremediation yields for these common wastewater pollutants after one week of contact, with yields as high as 99–100% for ammoniacal nitrogen, 95% for phosphorous, 96% for iron, and 94% for chromium. However, the remediation capacity for nitrate and nitrite was less significant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Vegetable Production Systems)
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22 pages, 3439 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Physiological and Biochemical Factors Affecting Flower Color of Herbaceous Peony in Different Flowering Periods
by Dongliang Zhang, Anqi Xie, Xiao Yang, Lijin Yang, Yajie Shi, Lingling Dong, Fuling Lei, Limin Sun, Mingyue Bao and Xia Sun
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040502 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1580
Abstract
Herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) is a famous ornamental plant, and the study of its flower color is of great significance for cultivating new flower varieties. To explore the factors driving the formation and change of herbaceous peony flower color, we selected [...] Read more.
Herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) is a famous ornamental plant, and the study of its flower color is of great significance for cultivating new flower varieties. To explore the factors driving the formation and change of herbaceous peony flower color, we selected five herbaceous peony varieties at four flowering stages to determine the change in flower color, petal area, and microstructure. We also examined the composition and content of petal pigments, soluble sugar and soluble protein content, pH value of cell fluid, and water content. Finally, we analyzed the correlations between each factor. We found that Pn3G5G, Pg3G5G, and Cy3G5G were the main anthocyanin components in red and purple petals. Qu3G, Qu7G, Is3G, and lutein play important roles in yellow petal formation. The change in herbaceous peony flower color during the flowering process is directly caused by changes in the anthocyanin and carotenoid content in petals. In addition, changes in other physiological indices also influence the change in flower color. This study explored the physiological and biochemical factors affecting the color of herbaceous peony petals, which has an important practical significance for studying the physiological mechanism of herbaceous peony flower color formation and color breeding of new flowers. Full article
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14 pages, 2045 KiB  
Article
Correlation between Destructive and Non-Destructive Measurements of Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) Fruit during Maturation
by Tina Smrke, Natasa Stajner, Tjasa Cesar, Robert Veberic, Metka Hudina and Jerneja Jakopic
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040501 - 17 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1290
Abstract
A relatively new, non-destructive, method for the assessment of optimal blueberry fruit maturity directly on the plant uses a DA-meter (delta absorbance) to measure chlorophyll absorbance (IAD). Here, ‘Aurora’ fruit quality parameters (peel color, fruit firmness), chemical composition (individual sugars, organic [...] Read more.
A relatively new, non-destructive, method for the assessment of optimal blueberry fruit maturity directly on the plant uses a DA-meter (delta absorbance) to measure chlorophyll absorbance (IAD). Here, ‘Aurora’ fruit quality parameters (peel color, fruit firmness), chemical composition (individual sugars, organic acids and phenolics) and the relative expression of anthocyanidin synthase (ANS) genes were examined at four different maturity stages (immature, light purple, darker purple, fully ripe). All observed parameters changed significantly during ripening and sometimes exhibited high correlation with IAD values, as R2 values ranged between 0.61 and 0.97. Peel lightness (L*), chroma (C*), fruit firmness and organic acids significantly decreased during ripening, while sugars, sugar/organic acid ratio, total phenolics and relative expression of ANS significantly increased. The current study is the first to determine IAD values during different maturity stages of ‘Aurora’ fruit using a DA-meter and to evaluate their correlation with the most commonly used quality parameters of ripe fruit, fruit chemical composition and relative expression of ANS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Fruit Production Systems)
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16 pages, 4789 KiB  
Article
Transcriptomic Analysis Reveals the Mechanism of Lignin Biosynthesis in Fresh-Cut Cucumber
by Yi Wang, Ning Yuan, Yuge Guan, Chen Chen and Wenzhong Hu
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040500 - 17 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1384
Abstract
When subjected to a certain degree of mechanical damages, a systematic responsive mechanism of fresh-cut cucumber is activated. Among them, the lignin produced in the secondary metabolism will make the fresh-cut cucumber lignified, which will increase the hardness and whiten the cutting surface [...] Read more.
When subjected to a certain degree of mechanical damages, a systematic responsive mechanism of fresh-cut cucumber is activated. Among them, the lignin produced in the secondary metabolism will make the fresh-cut cucumber lignified, which will increase the hardness and whiten the cutting surface of the fresh-cut cucumber, seriously affecting the taste and appearance quality. In order to further understand the mechanism of lignin synthesis, transcriptome analysis was carried out on two cutting types of fruit samples from the slices treatment (P) and shreds treatment (S) stored for 24 h. Compared with the whole fruit (CK), 2281 and 2259 differentially expressed genes (EDGs) were identified in the slices and shreds treatments, respectively; 1442 up-regulated genes and 839 down-regulated genes were expressed as 2281 in the slices treatment; 1475 significantly up-regulated genes and 784 significantly down-regulated genes were expressed as 2259 in the shreds treatment; and 1582 DEGs were commonly detected between the slices treatment and shreds treatment, indicating that these DEGs were related to lignin synthesis. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis showed that compared with the whole fruit, the metabolic pathways of amino acid metabolism, lipid metabolism, and secondary metabolism were affected by mechanical damages. This study revealed that JA biosynthesis was activated by mechanical damages, and the up-regulation of phenylalanine metabolism and phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan metabolism affected phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, which may promote lignin synthesis. Fifteen DEGs were selected for qRT-PCR validation, and the reliability and accuracy of transcriptome data were confirmed. Full article
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21 pages, 6458 KiB  
Article
UV-A Radiation Stimulates Tolerance against Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici in Tomato Plants
by Yolanda González-García, Diego Iván Escobar-Hernández, Adalberto Benavides-Mendoza, América Berenice Morales-Díaz, Emilio Olivares-Sáenz and Antonio Juárez-Maldonado
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 499; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040499 - 17 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1805
Abstract
UV-A radiation is a tool that has a stimulant action in plants and can be used to induce benefits through the production of bioactive compounds and the synthesis of secondary metabolites, among others. Particularly, its application could stimulate tolerance to the biotic stress [...] Read more.
UV-A radiation is a tool that has a stimulant action in plants and can be used to induce benefits through the production of bioactive compounds and the synthesis of secondary metabolites, among others. Particularly, its application could stimulate tolerance to the biotic stress caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici (Fol) in tomato plants; for this reason, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the ability of UV-A radiation to stimulate tolerance against Fol. For this, a tomato crop was established in which two conditions of supplementation with UV-A radiation were tested on plants inoculated with the fungus Fol. The pathogen’s impact on the agronomic parameters, its incidence and severity, and the contents of stress biomarkers, secondary metabolites and photosynthetic pigments were determined. The results show that the impact of the pathogen on severity was about 60%; therefore, the impact on fruit yield was also negative (−31%). Moreover, the pathogen significantly impacted the content of stress biomarkers, and the positive control increased H2O2 (+23.9%), malondialdehyde (+41.7%) and proline (+54.8%). In contrast, UV-A radiation significantly decreased Fol severity (−35.5%), and prevented its negative effect on the tomato plant/fruit yield. In addition, the application of UV-A radiation decreased the contents of stress biomarkers (−10.4% O2, −22% H2O2, and −16% MDA), and increased the contents of secondary metabolites (+13.2% flavonoids, +35% anthocyanins) and photosynthetic pigments (+17% β-carotene, +12% yellow pigments, and +19.8% total chlorophyll) in the plants inoculated with the pathogen. From the results obtained, it can be concluded that the application of UV-A radiation is a good alternative means to control the attack of pathogens such as Fol on tomato plants, without adverse consequences for the environment or the crop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Pathology in Horticultural Production)
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19 pages, 6641 KiB  
Article
Grape-Bunch Identification and Location of Picking Points on Occluded Fruit Axis Based on YOLOv5-GAP
by Tao Zhang, Fengyun Wu, Mei Wang, Zhaoyi Chen, Lanyun Li and Xiangjun Zou
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040498 - 16 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2048
Abstract
Due to the short fruit axis, many leaves, and complex background of grapes, most grape cluster axes are blocked from view, which increases robot positioning difficulty in harvesting. This study discussed the location method for picking points in the case of partial occlusion [...] Read more.
Due to the short fruit axis, many leaves, and complex background of grapes, most grape cluster axes are blocked from view, which increases robot positioning difficulty in harvesting. This study discussed the location method for picking points in the case of partial occlusion and proposed a grape cluster-detection algorithm “You Only Look Once v5-GAP” based on “You Only Look Once v5”. First, the Conv layer of the first layer of the YOLOv5 algorithm Backbone was changed to the Focus layer, then a convolution attention operation was performed on the first three C3 structures, the C3 structure layer was changed, and the Transformer in the Bottleneck module of the last layer of the C3 structure was used to reduce the computational amount and execute a better extraction of global feature information. Second, on the basis of bidirectional feature fusion, jump links were added and variable weights were used to strengthen the fusion of feature information for different resolutions. Then, the adaptive activation function was used to learn and decide whether neurons needed to be activated, such that the dynamic control of the network nonlinear degree was realized. Finally, the combination of a digital image processing algorithm and mathematical geometry was used to segment grape bunches identified by YOLOv5-GAP, and picking points were determined after finding centroid coordinates. Experimental results showed that the average precision of YOLOv5-GAP was 95.13%, which was 16.13%, 4.34%, and 2.35% higher than YOLOv4, YOLOv5, and YOLOv7 algorithms, respectively. The average positioning pixel error of the point was 6.3 pixels, which verified that the algorithm effectively detected grapes quickly and accurately. Full article
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18 pages, 3074 KiB  
Article
Multivariate Assessment of Genetic Relationships between Two Streptocarpus Cultivars and Their F1 Progenies Using Morphological Characteristics and SCoT Molecular Markers
by Monica Hârţa, Doina Clapa, Mihaiela Cornea-Cipcigan, Orsolya Borsai, Rodica Pop and Mirela Irina Cordea
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040497 - 15 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1420
Abstract
Streptocarpus is a very popular houseplant with colorful flowers, and has thus piqued the curiosity of plant enthusiasts and breeders. In this study, “Natalie” and “Bristol’s Gum Drop” were artificially hybridized to study the influence of the parental reciprocal crosses (P1×P2 and P2×P1) [...] Read more.
Streptocarpus is a very popular houseplant with colorful flowers, and has thus piqued the curiosity of plant enthusiasts and breeders. In this study, “Natalie” and “Bristol’s Gum Drop” were artificially hybridized to study the influence of the parental reciprocal crosses (P1×P2 and P2×P1) on vegetative and generative morphological traits of F1 progeny. Mean comparisons for morphological characters of parents and F1 plants from both crosses revealed that F1 plants were able to express hybrid vigor for several valuable morphological characteristics. Pearson correlations showed both significant negative and positive correlations between morphological traits of F1 plants from P1×P2 cross, while in the case of P2×P1 no significant negative correlations were observed (p < 0.05). The Start Codon Targeted (SCoT) genetic profiles of the F1 plants with the identifiers P1×P2.19 and P1×P2.35 were remarkably similar, and they grouped with the maternal parent in a small group, supporting the findings of clustering based on morphological data. The parental combination P2×P1 revealed the presence of closely related progenies to the paternal parent, namely P2×P1.16 and P2×P1.5. Two F1 plants named P1×P2.33 and P2×P1.21 were selected based on their phenotypic characteristics and SCoT molecular fingerprinting. These selected genotypes will be tested in our future breeding programs with the aim to create and promote new valuable Streptocarpus cultivars. Full article
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16 pages, 888 KiB  
Article
Comparing Spanish-Style and Natural Fermentation Methods to Valorise Carolea, Nocellara Messinese and Leccino as Table Olives
by Nicolina Timpanaro, Chiara A. C. Rutigliano, Cinzia Benincasa, Paola Foti, Solidea Mangiameli, Rosa Nicoletti, Innocenzo Muzzalupo and Flora V. Romeo
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040496 - 14 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1434
Abstract
This paper presents the results of the transformation into table olives of drupes belonging to three Italian cultivars: Carolea, Leccino and Nocellara Messinese, widely used for virgin olive oil production, by using the two most common methods to produce fermented table olives: the [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of the transformation into table olives of drupes belonging to three Italian cultivars: Carolea, Leccino and Nocellara Messinese, widely used for virgin olive oil production, by using the two most common methods to produce fermented table olives: the Spanish-style method (SS) and the natural fermentation (NF). The most suitable drupes as table olives due to their flesh-to-pit ratio and high-weight fruits were Nocellara Messinese olives. From the results obtained, it was highlighted that fermentation must be improved by using a selected starter culture that can drive the fermentation by rapid acidification. In fact, the long time required by NF results in a lower pH close to the hygienic safety limit but not low enough to be considered as a stable product, while the fast fermentation obtained by treating the olives with lye solution resulted in pH values that were too high. The sugar content in all table olives was almost null, and the sensory evaluation showed that SS olives were less bitter than NF olives. Moreover, NF olive-flesh samples showed a higher amount of healthy phenolic compounds than SS olives, whose phenolic content was drastically affected by the alkaline treatment and the successive washing steps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Fruit Production Systems)
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15 pages, 2609 KiB  
Article
Testing the Greenhouse Emission Model (GEM) for Pesticides Applied via Drip Irrigation to Stone Wool Mats Growing Sweet Pepper in a Recirculation System
by E. Louise Wipfler, Jos J. T. I. Boesten, Erik A. van Os and Wim H. J. Beltman
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040495 - 14 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1554
Abstract
Pesticide emissions to surface water from greenhouses with crops grown on substrates in open or closed systems may be significant. It is important, therefore, to test models such as the Greenhouse Emission Model (GEM), which was developed to assess these emissions as part [...] Read more.
Pesticide emissions to surface water from greenhouses with crops grown on substrates in open or closed systems may be significant. It is important, therefore, to test models such as the Greenhouse Emission Model (GEM), which was developed to assess these emissions as part of the Dutch authorization procedure for use of plant protection products in greenhouses. GEM was tested using an experiment in which imidacloprid and pymetrozine were applied via drip irrigation to stone wool mats growing sweet pepper. The irrigation system in such greenhouses consists of a mixing tank to prepare the nutrient solution and a series of tanks to treat and recirculate the drain water back to the mixing tank. Emissions may occur because (part of) this recirculation water may be discharged or leached to the surface water. GEM assumes that all tanks are perfectly mixed. GEM further assumes that the water in these mats is perfectly mixed and that the pesticide behavior can be simulated by assuming one perfectly mixed reservoir. The model predicted breakthrough of both pesticides out of the mats earlier than measured, and the measured maximum concentrations were approximately two times lower than predicted. We considered a series of possible causes, including a smaller water volume in the mats, a higher plant uptake factor, and sorption to the stone wool. The model performance improved by representing the mats as a sequence of two equally large tanks with plant uptake restricted to the first tank. We recommend to study the solute transport process and the distribution of plant roots in the mats in more detail to further underpin the hypothesis used and improve the model. After this first validation, the GEM model might also be used in other countries to forecast emissions of PPPs to surface water. Full article
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11 pages, 638 KiB  
Article
Effects of Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) on Growth, Nitrates and Osmoprotectant Content in Microgreens of Aromatic and Medicinal Plants
by Hamza El Haddaji, Mustapha Akodad, Ali Skalli, Abdelmajid Moumen, Said Bellahcen, Sliman Elhani, Miguel Urrestarazu, Mitja Kolar, Jernej Imperl, Petranka Petrova and Mourad Baghour
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040494 - 14 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1972
Abstract
Microgreens are receiving increasing attention due to their high content of bioactive components and their importance to human health. These emerging food products can be obtained from the seeds of different plant species, including aromatic herbs. Aromatic microgreens are gaining popularity as new [...] Read more.
Microgreens are receiving increasing attention due to their high content of bioactive components and their importance to human health. These emerging food products can be obtained from the seeds of different plant species, including aromatic herbs. Aromatic microgreens are gaining popularity as new functional food products. In this study, we investigated the effects of different light-emitting diode (LED) lamp spectra on the growth, pigments, nitrates, and osmoprotectant content of microgreens of Ocimum basilicum L., Trigonella foenum-graecum, Anethum graveolens, and Anthriscus cerefolium plants. Three types of artificial LED lamps were used: T0 as artificial white light, T1 as a continuous light-emitting diode with a longer blue wavelength, and T2 as a continuous light-emitting diode with a longer red wavelength. The results obtained showed that the three types of LED light had significant effects on the different parameters studied. In relation to growth parameters, such as fresh weight (FW) and microgreen height (H), the T2 treatment was most effective for fenugreek, dill, and chervil. However, in basil plants, FW and H values were higher under T1 treatment. Regarding nitrate accumulation, both T1 and T2 treatments reduced the content of this nutrient in the different species studied here. Finally, levels of chlorophyll, carotenoid, glucose, proline, and proteins were all higher in plants cultivated under T1 and T2 treatments than in control plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue LED Lighting in Vegetable Crops)
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19 pages, 364 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Light Intensity and Photoperiod on the Yield and Antioxidant Activity of Beet Microgreens Produced in an Indoor System
by Cristian Hernández-Adasme, Rayen Palma-Dias and Víctor Hugo Escalona
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040493 - 14 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2742
Abstract
Microgreens are immature and tender edible vegetables that have become relevant in the market due to their contribution to human health as “functional food”. They can be produced in controlled environments, allowing more efficient use of space and resources and facilitating the management [...] Read more.
Microgreens are immature and tender edible vegetables that have become relevant in the market due to their contribution to human health as “functional food”. They can be produced in controlled environments, allowing more efficient use of space and resources and facilitating the management of environmental conditions, such as light, temperature, and relative humidity. The study’s objective was to evaluate the impact of photoperiod and light intensity on red beet microgreens’ yield and the antioxidant compound content. LED growth lamps (spectrum of 75% red, 23% blue, and 2% far-red) under two photoperiods were evaluated: 12 and 16 h, and three intensity levels: 120 (low), 160 (medium), and 220 (high) µmol m−2 s−1. The largest photoperiod raised 32, 49, and 25% on phenolic compounds, total betalains, and antioxidant capacity, respectively, but a 23% reduction in microgreens yield was obtained compared with the shortest photoperiod. The low and medium intensities promoted the highest yield, reaching 460 g m−2; yield decreased significantly by 22.1% at high intensity compared to low and medium intensity. Contrastingly, no effect on antioxidant activity was observed with the evaluated range intensities, except for the betalains concentration, which was reduced by 35% under the highest intensity compared to low intensity. On the other hand, resource use efficiency (energy and water) improved under the shortest photoperiod. Thus, an intensity between 120 and 160 µmol m−2 s−1 and a photoperiod of 12 h favored the microgreen’s beet growth and saved electricity; meanwhile, a 16 h photoperiod ameliorated the beet microgreens antioxidant activity under a light spectrum composed of blue:red:far-red = 23:75:2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Protected Culture)
15 pages, 2321 KiB  
Review
Reviewing the Tradeoffs between Sunburn Mitigation and Red Color Development in Apple under a Changing Climate
by Noah Willsea, Victor Blanco, Kirti Rajagopalan, Thiago Campbell, Orlando Howe and Lee Kalcsits
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040492 - 14 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2402
Abstract
Orchard systems have drastically changed over the last three decades to high-density plantings that prioritize light interception that is evenly distributed throughout the entire canopy. These conditions allow the production of fruit with a high red color that meets consumer demands for uniformly [...] Read more.
Orchard systems have drastically changed over the last three decades to high-density plantings that prioritize light interception that is evenly distributed throughout the entire canopy. These conditions allow the production of fruit with a high red color that meets consumer demands for uniformly colored fruit without external disorders. However, these systems also expose a higher proportion of fruit to full-sunlight conditions. In many semi-arid apple production regions, summer temperatures often exceed thresholds for the development of fruit sunburn, which can lead to >10% fruit losses in some regions and some years. To combat this, growers and researchers use sunburn mitigation strategies such as shade netting and evaporative cooling, which bring a different set of potential fruit quality impacts. Often, there is a tradeoff between red color development and fruit sunburn, particularly for strategies that affect light intensity reaching the fruit surface. In this paper, we review agronomic and environmental factors leading to reductions in red color and increases in sunburn incidence, along with advancements in management practices that help mitigate these issues. Furthermore, we also identify gaps in knowledge on the influence climate change might have on the viability of some practices that either enhance red color or limit sunburn for apple orchards in semi-arid environments. There is a need for cost-effective management strategies that reduce losses to sunburn but do not inhibit red color development in bicolor apple cultivars. Full article
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9 pages, 1597 KiB  
Communication
Rapid and Efficient In Vitro Propagation Protocol of Endangered Wild Prickly Pear Growing in Eastern Morocco
by Ahmed Marhri, Aziz Tikent, Laurine Garros, Othmane Merah, Ahmed Elamrani, Christophe Hano, Malika Abid and Mohamed Addi
Horticulturae 2023, 9(4), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9040491 - 14 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1926
Abstract
The Opuntia genus is widely recognized as a significant member of the Cactaceae family. The eastern Moroccan prickly pear’s wild ecotype is renowned for its production of fruits of superior quality, which are in high demand. Nonetheless, the white cochineal (Dactylopius opuntiae [...] Read more.
The Opuntia genus is widely recognized as a significant member of the Cactaceae family. The eastern Moroccan prickly pear’s wild ecotype is renowned for its production of fruits of superior quality, which are in high demand. Nonetheless, the white cochineal (Dactylopius opuntiae) has emerged as a significant hazard to the persistence of the indigenous wild prickly pear population in the majority of the country’s territories. Conventional plant propagation techniques may facilitate the transmission of pathogens to successive generations and thus fail to satisfy market requirements. Therefore, the primary goal of this study was to develop a rapid and efficient protocol for large-scale production of the eastern Moroccan wild ecotype using axillary buds as the starting material. Sterilization of the starting material is a crucial but challenging step in this species, as the meristem is located just beneath the spine. The protocol developed for this study produced moderately satisfactory results, with 20 to 30% contamination in each experiment. The obtained shoots were incubated on Murashige and Skoog medium supplemented with varying concentrations of BAP (0, 1.5, 3, 5, and 7.5 mg/L). The treatment with BAP at 5 mg/L exhibited a statistically significant increase in the average number of regenerated shoots per explant (19.42). The effect of kinetin on the rooting of prickly pear was evaluated by transferring the shoots to a MS medium supplemented with varying concentrations of kinetin (0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, and 2.5 mg/L). The use of kinetin increased the number and length of roots while also shortening the root development period from 21 days to 10 days. The best results were obtained at a concentration of 1.5 mg/L of kinetin. Furthermore, satisfactory acclimatization of plants was achieved by using plastic containers with a gradually increasing opening of the lids. The outcomes of this experimentation have significant potential to facilitate the preservation of this botanical variety, reduce the risk of white cochineal infestation, and address the need for superior quality fruit supply in the market. Full article
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